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Airbags are found all over vehicles and the automakers keep applying airbags throughout vehicles. The Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSS) are U.S. federal regulations that require automakers to manufacture safer vehicles. Safer vehicles are accomplished by developing new technologies and optimizing current used safety features. For example, roof airbag curtains deploy from the roof rails to shield and protect occupants. With the new Occupant Ejection Mitigation standard curtain airbags are used in conjunction with laminated side glass to keep occupants inside the vehicle. Curtain airbags provide protection between the occupant and the window glass.

Rescuers are taught to peel and peek to find airbags hidden underneath the interior plastic trim. However, we need to understand multiple airbags and stored gas inflators are in many vehicles currently out on the road. A great example is the 2015 Ford Transit. The Transit has a side curtain airbag that is close to 17 feet long and uses two stored gas inflators, each 2 feet long.

Vehicles like station wagons and SUVs can have multiple airbags to cover occupants in the 3rd-row seats. The important takeaway, never assume locating the one stored gas inflator enables blind cutting on roof rails and pillars.
infiniti-qx80-extrication

Mike Smith, Absolute Rescue's Editor in Chief, is a veteran of the fire/rescue service in Michigan, who also works in the automotive industry as a designer. Have an idea of suggestion for the site? Contact Mike here

Heavy Rescue

Overturned Tractor-Trailer Extrication

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Overturned Tractor-Trailer Extrication

Check out the overturned Tractor-Trailer, confirmed entrapment, and power pole down that Elizabethtown Fire Dept Station 74 had earlier today.

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Quick Tips

Motor City Monday Extrication Tip; Electric Vehicle Battery Pack Reinforcements

As vehicles change, our knowledge must continue to keep pace and expand our mental toolbox.  The extrication tool manufacters have kept pace with their cutters, spreaders, and rams to combact these strong steels. It’s our job to stay

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Electric Vehicle Battery Pack Reinforcements

Like everything in life, vehicles are changing, well vehicles keep changing. World leaders are pushing green vehicles which will increase our interactions with electric vehicles.  First off, let’s look at the common acronyms of several common green and traditional vehicles.

  • BEV = Battery Electric Vehicle
  • PHEV = Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle
  • HEV = Hybrid Electric Vehicle
  • ICE = Internal Combustion Engine

Unlike BEV, PHEV, and HEV, the term ICE refers to the engine itself, rather than the type of car. Normal/traditional gasoline and diesel cars have internal combustion engines.

Electric Vehicles present several challenges to firefighters with battery fires leading the way.  The automakers are designing and engineering extremely strong protective cages around battery packs. We are no strangers finding boron, martensite, and press hardened steels in the pillars, roof rails, and fender wells.  However, in a BEV, the rocker panels and cross vehicle reinforcements will have boron and martensite steels to protect the battery pack from collisions that could comprise it.  In the images below, the 2021 Ford Mustang Mach E has this strong steel in the rocker panels and cross vehicle reinforcements.  The automakers can tie in the strong rocker panels into the front fender wells requiring us to make deep cuts during a dash lift or roll.


The image below shows the different testing vehicles are subjected to and a strong battery cage can not only protect the battery pack, but also the occupants of the vehicle.

As vehicles change, our knowledge must continue to keep pace and expand our mental toolbox.  The extrication tool manufacturers have kept pace with their cutters, spreaders, and rams to combat these strong steels. It’s our job to stay current where the automakers are using strong steel.

Images from several Great Designs in Steel (GDIS) 2021 Presentations.

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Heavy Rescue

Dump truck rolled onto a car

The dump truck attempted to change lanes, struck the passenger car, the load inside the rear of the dump truck shifted, causing the vehicle to list to one side and roll onto the driver’s side roof of the vehicle.

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Manheim Township, PA

First off, both drivers required extrication from their vehicles and were taken to the hospital with non life-threatening injuries.

The dump truck attempted to change lanes, struck the passenger car, the load inside the rear of the dump truck shifted, causing the vehicle to list to one side and roll onto the driver’s side roof of the vehicle.

Stabilization and Extrication

Towing and Recovery

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